CLIO presents you with the opportunity to limit, or focus, a search, on three different screens:

  • The Basic Search screen provides a drop-down menu of quick limits
  • The Advanced Search screen has a full set of limits underneath the boxes where you enter your keywords
  • Title list results from a Basic Search have a right hand sidebar with limits you can select to narrow down the list

You can apply limits at different stages of your search to focus it in a way that is not possible in a single step.

    There is no single limit available for E-books, but you can apply the Electronic Resources limit on the Basic Search screen, and then the Books limit on the Titles screen. The combination of the Electronic Resources limit and the Books limit will result in a list that only contains electronic books.

Quick Limits on Basic Search Screen

  • The Quick Limits menu on the Basic Search screen allows you to apply a single limit to a Basic Search. The list includes the most commonly used limits, such as books only, English language, selected library locations, items published in the last 5 years, etc.
  • These limits only work with Keyword and Title searches. The drop-down list is greyed out when an Author, Subject, Call number, Series or ISBN/ISSN search is selected

Limits on Advanced Search Screen

  • You can limit an Advanced Keyword search by date, language, library, format, medium and place of publication.
  • You can select multiple libraries by holding down the Control key while you click on each desired library in the list. However, for the other types of limit, it is only possible to select one option at a time.

More Detail on Specific Types of Limit Available on the Advanced Search screen


Confines search results to materials published in a single year or span of years.

  • Last 5 Years means a publication date this year or in the previous five years
  • For a range of years, fill in both boxes with different years
  • Fill in the "From" box only for dates including and after that year
  • Fill in the "To" box only for dates up to and including that year
  • Fill in both boxes with the same year for a single year

Reprint publications will only be retrieved by setting the search limit to the date of the reprint, not the original date of publication.

Some materials will not be retrieved at all when date limits are set because no data was recorded in the encoded fields used for date limiting. For instance, catalog records for many archival manuscript or mixed material collections do not include this encoded date information.


The limit applies only to the predominant language of the material.

The first choices are the most commonly occurring languages listed in alphabetic order, followed by the remaining choices in alphabetic order.

Library Location

The location as it appears in CLIO may be a combination of the library where it is held and the area where it is shelved.

Health Sciences Media

Do not use this feature as a technique for looking for information by topic.  It is likely that books on any one topic can be found in many libraries. Using this feature as a substitute for topic can cause you to miss useful titles.


Use this limit when you are interested in certain publication types. For each format, material can be in any medium, such as paper, electronic or microform.

  • Books - stand-alone text publications
  • Serials - materials published recurrently; e.g. journals, annuals, newsletters, etc
  • Music Scores
  • Maps - maps in any format (book, map sheet, etc.), or medium (print, digital, etc.), but search will cover only Columbia holdings that have been cataloged. For more maps, see the Map Collection in Lehman Library.
  • Visual Materials - videos, DVDs, slides, filmstrips, transparencies, etc.
  • Music Scores
  • Music Sound Recordings
  • Spoken Recordings
  • Drawings and Photographs - two-dimensional, non-projectable, graphic; e.g. drawings, photos, computer graphics, etc.
  • Computer Files - computer software; computer-oriented multimedia; online systems or services. (For a broader search of material in electronic formats, choose the Medium limit "Electronic Resources"  but do not use these two limits at the same time.)


Use this limit when you are interested in either of the following:

  • Electronic Resources - any material that is accessed, processed, or executed by computer. This includes digitized text, images, and other materials regardless of how they are delivered (Internet, CD-ROM, etc.). Corresponds to the Quick Limit  "Electronic Resources" and is the most comprehensive way to select online materials.
  • Microforms - material published on microfiche or microfilm.

Place of Publication

Use this limit when you are interested in materials published in a particular country, or in a particular state in the USA or province in Canada.

When a catalog record names more than one place of publication, the limit will apply only to the first place of publication named.

Limits on Title List Screen

When a Title list appears after a Basic Search has been carried out, a sidebar on the right hand side of the screen offers you options for narrowing the list down to materials in certain categories.  In most cases selecting more than one category narrows your results, e.g. Books and All Electronic Resources.  But selecting more than one location limit, e.g. Location Engineering and Location Online, will filter your search to material with a library location of either the Engineering library OR to all resources with a location of Online.   You may add and remove limits as you please.

  • Archival Collections
  • Books
  • Current 5 years
  • All Electronic Resources
  • English Language
  • Journals/Newspapers/Serials
  • Music Scores
  • Music Sound Recordings
  • Videos/Films
  • Location Avery
  • Location Barnard
  • Location Burke
  • Location Business
  • Location Butler
  • Location Butler Media (Circulating)
  • Location East Asian
  • Location Engineering
  • Location Geology
  • Location Geoscience
  • Location Journalism
  • Location Lehman
  • Location Mathematics/Science
  • Location Medical Center
  • Location Milstein (24 hr)
  • Location Music
  • Location Offsite
  • Location Online
  • Location Rare Book and Manuscripts
  • Location Social Work

If you would like further assistance, Ask a Librarian for help.